The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts String Orchestra will present a free public concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, in the UTC Fine Arts Center’s Roland Hayes Concert Hall.
The performance will include “Carmen Suites 1 and 2” by Georges Bizet and “Tragic Overture” by Johannes Brahms.
Free parking is available in the adjacent Lupton Hall parking garage. Both the parking garage and the Roland Hayes Concert Hall are handicap accessible.
The 60-member college/community orchestra, led by UTC Symphony Orchestra conductor Sandy Morris, includes University music majors and non-majors, UTC music faculty, area music educators and other amateur and professional musicians from the region.
“The UTC Symphony repertoire for this concert was suggested to me by our orchestra members, particularly our seniors who wanted to play Brahms and Bizet before they graduate,” Morris said. “These contrasting works are important staples in the orchestral repertoire. We hope you enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed rehearsing them.”
The Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts String Orchestra, led by Jessica Stansbury, contains students from grades 8-12. The CCA String Orchestra will perform selections from their fall performance, “Bach and Roll,” including “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Brandenburg” by Black Violin.
“We are happy to welcome the Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts String Orchestra to open our concert,” Morris said. “Jessica Stansbury has done an amazing job with the orchestra since I retired from there in 2011, and this is a great opportunity to showcase their fine work.”
CCA is a unique, dedicated fine arts magnet school promoting artistic and academic excellence for students in grades six through twelve. Part of the Hamilton County School System, CCA serves more than 600 students in the fine arts concentration of their choice.
Morris said the Carmen Suites, edited by Fritz Hoffmann, are based on Bizet’s orchestration of the original score to his groundbreaking opera, “Carmen.” The opera is about a gypsy girl who works in a cigarette factory in Spain and seduces a soldier, whom she later discards for a bullfighter. This subject matter was scandalous at the time of its debut in 1875 Paris with its immorality and lawlessness, but it has become one of the best-loved operas for its beautiful melodies and colorful orchestration—as well as Bizet’s ability to express his characters’ emotions. It bridges the French opera comique with musical sections separated by dialogue and the verismo (realism) approach of late 19th-century Italian opera.
Brahms composed Tragic Overture in 1880, not in response to a personal tragedy but as a contrast to his Academic Festival Overture—which was written the same year for Brenau University and drew upon student drinking songs. Morris said the contrast is apparent in Brahms’ use of the key of D minor to create the essence of a free-standing symphony movement with its powerful themes and quieter, reflective moments.